This was an oops purchase, well, the second copy anyway. Meco Monardo, known primarily for his disco-infused Star Wars album, Music Inspired by Star Wars and other Galactic Funk, continued to tackle box office monsters with his 1978 release of The Wizard of Oz, and this 1979 offering, Superman and Other Galactic Heroes. So nice, we had to buy it twice… by sheer accident. If you can stomach disco, and have an ear for cinematic familiarity, Meco is your man.
2 contemporary classic John Williams film scores on one, RCA Red Seal record (Charles Gerhardt conducting the National Philharmonic Orchestra). Abridged versions of both film scores on a single disc for your convenient listening pleasure. Don’t pay more than $5 for this record… they’re currently going for $2 on Discogs.
The name looks right, at least, familiar, but the characters on the cover… not exactly sure what’s going on here. More disco than initially expected, the Now Sound Orchestra’s flamboyant interpretations of classic, sci-fi favorites is something, SHOULD be something, worthy of this amazing cover art. A classic, ready for reevaluation. You’re welcome.
Jabba the Hutt’s taste in women derives from the Red Sea shores of this north-eastern Egyptian city, or so it would appear from the cover to 101 String’s 1959 space-age pop-jazz compilation, East of Suez. Perhaps slave women apparel is globally standard and I’m just catching on, or, per chance, it’s that Mr. The Hutt has a very distinct taste in his slaves’ swimwear. If you’re in the market for orchestral mood music with a provocative, Egyptian undertone, look no further than East of Suez.
I set out to acquire the Jaws soundtrack on 8-Track for the upcoming annual Jaws Day (July 3rd, don’t forget), and I ended up with a dirt cheap, fully functioning set of the following, all on glorious 8-Track: Jaws (Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), Star Wars (The Original Soundtrack from the 20th Century-Fox Film), and this copy of Star Wars – The Empire Strikes Back. All in (just about) perfect working condition. I never thought I’d enjoy the romantic static and bass-heavy warmth of 8-Track sound as much as I do… makes me glad I keep the player in the living room. My SO on the other hand…
Was a defocused Adam Ant ever a sex symbol? This 1983 cover of Strip certainly suggests that over 30 years ago, he was. I was busy acting out my favorite scenes from Return of the Jedi with my Jedi Luke Skywalker (with green lightsaber) and Jabba the Hutt playset (with snub-nosed Salacious Crumb) at the time, so this obvious monument of male sexual prowess escaped me.
I’ll admit that I went through an “80s” phase about a decade ago, and managed to gobble up any and every early 80s pop album I could find. I’d been the proud owner of Adam Ant’s B-Side Babies back in High School, and figured that expanding my Adam Ant collection was a logical endeavor. Strip, with its chart-climbing single, Puss ‘n Boots (which was co-produced by Phil Collins, I’ll have you know) was Mr. Ant’s 2nd solo effort after ditching the Ants in ’82.
Sex symbol or not, Stuart Leslie Goddard (aka Adam Ant) made some pretty damn good pop music throughout his career, and although B-Side Babies never received a proper vinyl release, it comes HIGHLY recommended.
Star Wars references in sub-indy hip hop back in the late 90s were kind of a fanboy treat, and are almost immediately featured on this record’s b-side, Settle the Score. The third in a four-part series titled, The Blow Up Factor, Mr. Lif offers 3x versions of Farmland, the a-side, the previously mentioned Settle the Score, and a track I don’t remember ever hearing, You Don’t Knowstrumental. Released in 1999 on Grand Royal Records, this little 4-track is worth more to the diehards than to avid collectors of the medium, but for only $1.49 on discogs, this pressing is a steal!
Meco’s nightclub talents are sprinkled throughout my collection in healthy, respectful numbers, which is fairly gracious considering his brand of big screen-nabbing, dance floor-packing, Disco Duck-inspiring, funk-fused disco is little more than the same groove, repeated over several, action-packed themes, ad nauseum. Somebody somewhere likely said, “Slap a Star Wars logo on it, and the kids will eat it up!” Mr. / Mrs. Somebody was right, or at least, I can think of no other terrestrial reason to own this 10” RSO Records release from 1980.
This five track EP is exactly what you’d expect from Meco. Heavy synths, big brass, groovy bass and a hefty, four-on-the-floor disco beat. Meco mainly lives within the bowels of obscurity these days, but the man demands respect for creating a recognizable and danceable sound both familiar to big screen enthusiasts, and Saturday night ragers alike. If Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk isn’t enough for your calloused ears, seeking out this 10” may feed that Meco bug.
What thrilling day it must have been back in 1977 at 51 N. 425 E. in Smithfield, Utah (zip 84335). Probably having just returned home from the local K-Mart with his newly acquired Star Wars original motion picture soundtrack, a young (probably high school-aged) Mark couldn’t wait to relive the intergalactic adventures on his parents’ home stereo system while leafing through all the bonus goodies that accompany this amazing two LP set. Aside from the legendary masterworks of John Williams, 20th Century Records’ release also included an epic poster, a credits insert, and this mail in offer for an official Star Wars t-shirt. Mark is a size large, by the way.
The specifics surrounding the immediate and gleeful filling out of this order form that prevented a space drama-loving Mark Eskelson to NOT send it in will forever be pondered and (over) analyzed by its current owner (me). If only for a brief moment, it must be stated that Mark’s true reason for not forking over $5 for this gem of necessary fashion can only truly be understood by him, in a galaxy far, far away.
In the mood for great (not second rate) Science Fiction movie music favorites produced & arranged by Les Baxter & Neil Norman? Of course… it’s Friday, why wouldn’t you be? For those of you needing a little push in the ways of interstellar incentive, here’s what you’ll find on Greatest Science Fiction Hits II:
War of the Satellites (AKA Verizon Vs. AT&T)
Daughter of the Lesser Moon (AKA Girl from My First Wife)
Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (AKA 90s PG Stand-Up Comedy and the Feral Cat)
Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (AKA Nope)
The Time Tunnel (AKA A Night of Heavy Drinking)
More from Star Wars (AKA Heavy Breathing from an Overweight, Yet Excessively Lucrative Franchise Creator)
And many more!
Shoot for the Galilean moons of Jupiter this early February (there’s an “R”) weekend, and hip yourself to the grandiose sounds of Neil Norman and His Cosmic Orchestra (produced & arranged by Les Baxter & Neil Norman) as they milk the last ounces of 70s groove-inspired, disco-influenced jazz-rock with this 1981 compilation of Science Fiction craziness from GNP Crescendo Records. If you find yourself poverty-stricken, but still long for the infinite sounds of the great unknown, this time-traveling collection will fit just about any budget-restricting needs.
Is 365 to 1
Where to begin… Christmas in the Stars is nothing short of an exhaustive, and thorough disaster. This album makes the destruction of Alderaan look as trivial as spilled blue milk. Released in 1980, this Ishtar-like running gag features Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, a series of random beeps as R2-D2, a full freakin’ orchestra, and of course, John Bongiovi, AKA Jon Bon Jovi on lead vocals, because, you know, nothing says “let’s go save the princess” like Bad Medicine.
Everyone will have a cookie
I brought extra for the Wookie
Produced by Meco (yes, THAT Meco), and co-produced by Tony Bongiovi, Jon Bon’s cousin, Christmas in the Stars takes the colorful world of Star Wars (then only two films), coerces it with a shiny piece of candy, and takes it out back to beat it senseless with a pillow case full of D batteries. What Can You Get A Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns A Comb?) is not only a genuine track from this album, IT’S ALSO THE SINGLE! Man, would I have LOVED to have been a fly on the wall during these pitch meetings. “Uh, yes Mr. Lucas. Thank you for taking the time to meet with us today. We all loved Empire. Brilliant film. Yes, yes. So, our idea for the Star Wars Christmas album is this… what if we have a series of non-denominational Christmas songs (see the oxymoron there?) narrated by R2 & 3PO? I hear there’s a talented young kid out of New Jersey with a great singing voice, we can get him to do the backing vocals. We could have a full symphony, utilize Ben Burtt’s amazing sound effects, and we can see if Ralph is available to do the cover. The single, are you ready… is titled, What Can You Get A Wookie for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb?). What do you think, George?” “Green lit. Now, pass me that tube of cookie dough. I’m in pre-production on a 2nd chin.”
The ONLY redeemable feature with regards to Christmas in the Stars is the Ralph McQuarrie painted cover (note how the 1980 Kris Kringle looks an awful lot like a 2013 George Lucas). Christmas in the Stars is like receiving a pair of socks for Christmas every year from each of your relatives and loved ones. The anticipation far exceeds the end result, but at least your feet will be warm.
Well, it’s late, but k’mon, man! These things take time! Enjoy the beginnings of the festive holiday with works from Dean Martin, Country Mike (the Beastie Boys), R2-D2 & C-3PO, Joe Pesci, The Kinks, The Smothers Brothers, Rocket from the Crypt, the Capitol Studio Orchestra, The Dismemberment Plan, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Make your ears bleed red will these irreverent boughs of holly, courtesy of The Prudent Groove.
A: Why, this compilation of disco-fied movie themes from the late 70s, of course!
I mean, let’s be honest. What kid doesn’t want to hear the Marty Gold Orchestra perform the main theme from The Deep? I know for damn certain this here kid does! A self-proclaiming “Stupendous!” “Far out!” and “Exhilarating!” collection straight out of Newark, New Jersey, Themes from the Movies combines the disco fever that made the decade of brown and orange famous, with the silver screen classics that made film executives filthy rich… but, you know, marketed to kids via Peter Pan Industries. Nothing says kid-friendly-jams quite like a disco version of the Theme from Orca, am I right?
As “a galaxy of celestial delights,” Themes from the Movies is certainly one of those niche records (AKA “best album on the market” as the back cover exclaims) that is better left on the shelf at the record store.
What lies beyond the three decades old factory plastic that mummifies this copy of the 24 Page Read-Along Book and Record set, Star Wars The Further Adventures: Planet of the Hoojibs? Lost in a galaxy far, far away are the technical readouts of this planet’s astrological coordinates, as well as why the dragon-beast-falcon with Sarlacc-like tentacles is devouring gentlemen in red jumpsuits. The worried looks on the long-eared moth-creatures suggest that Hoojibs are certainly NOT a species with which to mess, which is surprising because “Hoojibs” is such an adorable name for a razor-horned demon-bird with a scaly-breast and vampire-like fangs.
What resembles an A-wing pilot on the far left looks to be enjoying a leisurely stroll through Griffith Park rather than on a dead sprint for his little Rebel life. Even Princess Leia in her out of place Hoth attire holding a blaster at a mysteriously odd angle looks more like she’s doing a Jillian Michaels routine than fearing her grotesque demise. Lucky for all, 3PO is there to translate the Hoojibs’ demand for better parking and an extended tapas happy hour.
The mystery of the Hoojibs will remain just that… my inner-four-year-old is sobbing with bated breath.
Distributed in the height of Star Wars sequel anticipation, this 1979 release of a children’s Read-Along book and record set hosts one of my first vivid memories of playing a record. Thanks to my first, pocket-sized (for very large pockets) turntable, I was able to enjoy an insanely abridged version of my favorite story… a story I had been convinced was the greatest ever told.
When listening to this little memory-harboring 7″ (with all its pop-filled, skip-tastic glory), I can still picture myself reenacting the drama-soaked adventures with my 3¾” Star Wars action figures and thinking, being a kid is the greatest thing on this, or any galaxy, regardless of placement in time and/or location. (A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… was easily replaced with Just a moment ago in a playroom very, very near…)
The ol’ girl has certainly seen better days, but I wouldn’t trade her for all seats on the Imperial Senate.
It’s not every day an obsessive-compulsive collector is reunited with his first turntable. Today was that immortal day. While on holiday in the muggy bayou that is (currently) Southern Wisconsin, I (actually, my father found it) discovered a crucial piece of my record loving history, this late 70s, Disco Mouse, Sears, Roebuck and Co. phonograph.
Still in working, albeit cosmetically challenged, condition, this little guy provided countless hours of Pac-Man adventures, abridged versions of my favorite Star Wars, and Star Wars related fantasies (think The Ewoks Join the Fight), and spun my very first picture disc, 1977’s Main Street Electrical Parade. (It was most recently the spinner of Louie Louie by The Kingsmen, Volare by Dean Martin, and Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. Oh how times have changed.)
A collector exhausts many a turntable throughout their lives. Some rest in unrepaired ruin, while others lay in storage for over 30 years, waiting to once again offer a plethora of new memories.
Many thanks to my folks for introducing me the wonderful world of recorded music.